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How to Create an Effective Digital Marketing Plan

How to Create an Effective Digital Marketing Plan Image

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of business, having a solid digital marketing plan is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity.

In a world where consumers are increasingly connected online, the importance of a strategic digital marketing approach is not overstated.

Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a well-established enterprise, you need a digital marketing plan. While it may be tempting to get caught up in tactics or to jump into execution mode, outlining your digital marketing plan puts your business in the best position to succeed.

Planning ahead comes with lots of positives. It helps you stay within your marketing budget. It establishes what is working and eliminates what is not. And, importantly, it identifies the digital marketing campaigns that provide the highest ROI so you can allocate resources most effectively.

Learn what an effective digital marketing strategy looks like, followed by our tips on creating a digital marketing plan that brings your business the most bang for its buck.

What Is a Digital Marketing Plan?

A digital marketing plan is a document that outlines business goals for promoting the company’s products or services to potential customers through the use of digital strategies. These strategies can include campaigns for email marketing, influencer marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and more.

A digital marketing plan differs from a traditional marketing plan because it allows direct interaction with consumers backed by analytics. And when businesses engage with their target audience, they can form a connection with customers and build their loyalty and trust.

Digital marketing plan templates typically include these components:

  • Business goals
  • Strategies
  • Channels
  • Timelines
  • Marketing budget
  • Performance evaluation metrics

Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Plan?

Digital marketing involves a lot of moving parts. A business can have multiple campaigns running simultaneously across various channels. With each campaign comes tasks that someone has to complete, along with monitoring performance and adjusting strategies as needed.

And as you invest in even more digital marketing strategies, keeping track of everything can become quite complex.

The most significant benefit of having a digital marketing plan is that it provides a structured process for meeting business objectives There are other benefits, too:

Identifying your target market.

Understanding your audience is the key to a successful marketing strategy. A digital marketing plan enables you to identify, profile, and target your ideal customer audience with precision. By leveraging data analytics and insights, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your audience’s demographics, behaviors, and preferences.

This in-depth knowledge empowers you to tailor your marketing efforts, ensuring that your message resonates with the right people at the right time, it lays out specific strategies for reaching target audiences.

Determines which channels to use.

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, a robust online presence is non-negotiable for any business looking to thrive. But, here’s the catch: it’s not just about being present; it’s about being present strategically. This is where a well-crafted digital marketing plan comes into play.

One of the key reasons why you need a digital marketing plan lies in its ability to determine the channels you will use to execute your strategy. From social media platforms to content and video marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO)—showing up in the right space at the right time is a huge piece of the digital marketing puzzle.

Stay on schedule and complete tasks on time.

A digital marketing plan acts as the roadmap for your team, aligning everyone with the overarching goals and strategies. By clearly defining objectives and outlining the steps required to achieve them, your team gains a collective understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Evaluate the performance of each campaign.

A digital marketing plan relies on data and analytics to measure the success of various strategies. Regularly analyzing performance metrics allows your team to make informed decisions about what is working and what needs adjustment. If a marketing technique or strategy isn’t working, your team can pivot the strategy.

Now that you have a better understanding of what a digital marketing plan entails, follow our tips below on how to create the best plan for your business.

8 Tips for Creating a Digital Marketing Plan

1. Set goals for the year ahead.

A marketing plan details how your business will achieve its marketing goals. But first, you must define what exactly those goals are. Setting specific goals and objectives allows you to measure the success of your marketing campaigns and optimize your ROI.

If you know you’d like to generate more leads, improve conversion rates, boost traffic to your landing page, or increase revenue, great. But you need to make those goals more concrete.

Instead of saying, “We want to increase sales,” say, “We want to increase sales by 15% in the first quarter of 2024 over the first quarter of 2023.” The latter goal is SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

For your SMART goals, consider the following:

  • Specific: What products or services are we promoting, and what audiences are we targeting to generate these sales? What channels will we use to reach our audience?
  • Measurable: What amount of sales revenue are we aiming for? What KPIs will we use to track performance?
  • Attainable: What percentage will we need to increase sales by? Can we achieve that, and what was our performance in previous quarters?
  • Relevant: How does our product or service address the pain points of our audience? What benefits can we provide them?
  • Timely: What are the time frames for our campaigns? When and how often will we evaluate our success and adjust if needed?

2. Create a buyer persona.

To create an effective digital marketing plan, you need to know the ideal customer you want to target. So the next step in creating your digital marketing plan is to develop a buyer persona to define your target audience.

Buyer personas are fictional people who encompass the demographics, traits, and interests of those who purchase your products or services. To create your buyer personas, include their age, location, occupation, hobbies, goals, online behavior, and how your brand can fulfill their needs.

Buyer personas tell you precisely whom to target when running your campaigns. You may have multiple buyer personas. And you can market to each of them based on their specific needs and interests.

For example, if you sell fitness apparel to both men and women, you’d have a separate buyer persona for each gender and keep these target audiences separate. This way, you can create the most relevant marketing messages that resonate with each audience.

3. Review the data for direction moving forward.

Look back and evaluate the results of your previous campaigns. Which platforms generated the most sales, reach, and engagement? Are there other channels you should be considering? What type of content performed best?

Next, use those assessments as a road map for moving forward. Get rid of the strategies that aren’t working, and double down on the ones that are. That may mean trying a new platform or strategy.

One of the best things about any digital marketing campaign is the ability to pivot and make changes at any time. For example, if your email marketing is not generating leads, allocate your efforts toward social media marketing activities instead. If your Google Ads aren’t delivering the desired results, pause them and try running Facebook ads. Compare the performance of each channel to determine next steps.

You can also evaluate your competitors’ digital campaigns. Where do they have a presence, and what are they doing on the various platforms? There are competitive research tools you can use for this. For example, SpyFu lets you review the digital strategies others are using in your industry.

By evaluating your campaigns, you can also get a clearer picture of your potential customers. Free tools, such as Facebook Audience Insights, can offer details on your audience’s size, demographics, interests, and more.

Finally, Google Trends provides the topics people are searching for, popular search trends, and related search queries. This can help you refine your SEO strategy.

4. Decide which digital marketing channels to use.

Now you know what your goals are and whom you want to reach. So the next step for your digital marketing plan is to figure out which channels you will use to execute your strategies.

Examine your online footprint to determine if your business is where it needs to be, if you are taking advantage of the latest tools available, and if there are other channels you should be considering.

For example, if your business lacks a presence on Google, you’ll want to build upon your efforts there. You can do this through Google’s paid ads or free tools, such as creating a Google business profile. Additionally, you always want to encourage your shoppers to leave a Google review about their customer experience.

With social media marketing, you may already be on Facebook and Instagram. But should you also have a presence on Pinterest, TikTok, or LinkedIn? Are there other niche platforms your potential customers use?

Each social media channel attracts different demographics, so determine which platforms you want to have a presence on.

5. Outline marketing strategies for each channel.

The next step for your digital marketing plan is to outline your strategies and marketing funnel for each channel.

Each campaign included in your digital marketing plan should say what the strategy is, when and where it will be executed, what tasks each team member needs to tackle, and when each task needs to be completed.

Let’s say content marketing is one of your digital strategies. In this case, you’ll need to build a content calendar with dates, topics, who is responsible for creating the content, and how you will distribute the content to your target audience.

Once your content plan is laid out, determine which content to share on which channels. This might be through email marketing campaigns, blog posts on your website, social media posts, or YouTube videos. This strategy should also include assigned roles for team members with deadlines to ensure that all content is created, approved, and distributed on time.

6. Create a promotional calendar for the year.

Develop a promotional calendar for the full year that includes your channels, posting cadence, sales, and promotional events. You can also create separate calendars for each digital marketing strategy, in addition to a master schedule that keeps track of all your marketing campaigns in one place.

When creating your calendar, remember that the summer and year-end holidays can be the most challenging times for reaching people. During the holiday shopping season, you want to avoid competing with big-box retailers that have significantly larger ad spending. By planning your promotional calendar, you’ll be ahead of the game and ensure that you optimize your campaigns with ideal timing.

Consider the times of the year that are your business peaks and lows. Knowing this allows you to schedule your social media ads, email campaigns, and other marketing initiatives at the ideal times to reach your target audience and get them engaged.

7. Establish KPIs to measure success.

Your digital marketing strategy should be all about results. But the only way to measure your success is to have clear key performance indicators. KPIs are data points that help you determine if your business goals are being met. If they’re not, your KPIs allow you to restructure and optimize your campaigns for better results.

KPIs for digital marketing analytics can include page views, click-through rates, cost per lead, conversion rates, and many other metrics. First, pick the KPIs that matter to you. Then set benchmarks on what must be achieved to make a campaign worth the investment.

For example, with your email marketing campaign, the email open rate could be your KPI. If you’re not achieving the desired rate (15% to 20%), you might want to do some research. You could conduct A/B testing using different send times or subject lines and evaluate any changes.

8. Evaluate every 90 days and adjust accordingly.

One of the best things about any digital marketing campaign is the ability to pivot and make changes at any time. Be sure to evaluate your performance every 90 days, and don’t be afraid to adjust for better results.

Start the new year with a digital marketing plan in place so your business can move ahead with clear direction and strategies. If you need help, reach out to the pros here at Real Marketing Solutions to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help you grow your business, brand, and bank account in 2024.

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